Assail Synagogue Closing in Moscow

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America sent telegrams to Soviet officials denouncing the closing of a synagogue in the Moscow suburb of Tomilino. According to reports from Moscow, the synagogue, which has been operating for 42 years and has a congregation of 100 was closed because it has been operating unofficially without proper registration.

Harold M. Jacobs, president of the UOJO sent telegrams to Soviet Premier Leonid I. Brezhnev and to Anatoly Dobrynin. Soviet Ambassador in Washington, declaring: “On behalf of the thousands of American Orthodox synagogues and their millions of congregants, we express our pain and indignation at the outrageously contrived closing of the Tomilino Synagogue near Moscow. We demand the immediate redress of this breach of the religious rights of Jews in the Soviet Union by the prompt reopening of the Tomilino Synagogue.”

In a telegram to Dobrynin. a copy of which was sent to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Stanley H. Lowell, president of the NCSJ. declared: “You can’t have it both ways. The talk is of detente and improved relations, and we learn today that a synagogue, one of the few remaining left in the Soviet Union, has been arbitrarily closed….We demand not only freedom of emigration and an end to harassment but also an end to Soviet inconsistency and paradox. We demand religious freedom for our people and the reopening of the Tomilino Synagogue immediately so that Soviet Jews may observe Simhat Torah in traditional ways.”

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